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Book Cover
Author Vlach, John Michael, 1948-

Title Back of the big house : the architecture of plantation slavery / John Michael Vlach.

Published Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, [1993]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Store  975.00496 VLAC GD10    AVAILABLE
Physical description xviii, 258 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm.
Series Fred W. Morrison series in Southern studies.
Fred W. Morrison series in Southern studies.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 237-250) and index.
Summary Behind the "Big Houses" of the antebellum South existed a different world, socially and architecturally, where slaves lived and worked. John Michael Vlach explores the structures and spaces that formed the slaves' environment. Through photographs and the words of former slaves, he portrays the plantation landscape from the slaves' own point of view. The plantation landscape was chiefly the creation of slaveholders, but Vlach argues convincingly that slaves imbued this landscape with their own meanings. Their subtle acts of appropriation constituted one of the more effective strategies of slave resistance and one that provided a locus for the formation of a distinctive African American culture in the South.
Because slaves generally were not always closely supervised in the areas assigned to them, Vlach shows that they were able to create their own spaces right under the noses of their owners, spaces whose very existence undercut the slaveholders' claims of absolute control. Where the planters sited their houses and outbuildings and the types of buildings they chose to construct were decisions affected by their involvement with the institution of slavery and, ultimately, by the slaves themselves.
Subject Slaves -- Southern States -- Social conditions.
Space (Architecture) -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century.
Vernacular architecture -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century.
Plantation life -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century.
Southern States -- Social conditions.
ISBN 0807844128 (paperback: alk. paper)
0807820857 (cloth : alk. paper)